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updated: 7/11/2014 5:30 PM

Heads up! Supermoon coming Saturday

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  • A nearly full moon shines through girders Thursday above fans in the upper deck at Safeco Field late in a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins, in Seattle. The full moon of July 12 will be considered a "supermoon" because the Earth and the moon will be closer together than usual.

      A nearly full moon shines through girders Thursday above fans in the upper deck at Safeco Field late in a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins, in Seattle. The full moon of July 12 will be considered a "supermoon" because the Earth and the moon will be closer together than usual.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The full moon on Saturday will appear to be unusually big. In fact, it will be a "supermoon."

That's the nickname for full moons that happen when our celestial neighbor is relatively close to Earth. That distance varies because the moon follows an elliptical orbit. When it's close and full, it appears bigger and brighter than normal, although in fact the difference can be hard to detect.

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If you see Saturday's moon close to the horizon it may seem huge, but that's just an illusion caused by its position in the sky.

Two other full moons this summer, on Aug. 10 and Sept. 9, are also supermoons.

It's not all that unusual to have a supermoon. There were three in a row last year.

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